Back to back executions in Arkansas

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by bostjan, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

    Messages:
    13,347
    Likes Received:
    1,411
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    St. Johnsbury, VT USA
    Right, I suppose I typed out one thing and then changed what I was typing and didn't properly edit it.


    I believe my statements should have made this clear already, I am not certain what you are wanting, other than perhaps for me to make a specific statement that supports your position.

    Is having innocent people locked up for life without parole and dying in prison from the health complications associated with prison life acceptable to you?

    Your statement here comes off as fishing around, to me. Maybe I read it wrong, but it really seems like you are trying to get me to say something that sounds like your perception of the position contrary to your own, rather than the actual position.

    I'm not surprised that you disagree. But, my position is not to encourage or even condone drug use. It's to decriminalize it. What good ever came out of prison time for drug users?! Rhetorical question.

    People addicted to drugs are suffering from a health problem. Why we stigmatize that makes sense - we want people not to do it. But - it doesn't work. These folks need help, not punishment. I don't believe in punishing people. As I said before, I don't think the death penalty is punishment. I think it's an easy way out for someone whose life would otherwise be far more miserable than death. I also don't believe in rehabilitation of murderers.

    Mmm, well, it is, but there's a seed of truth in what he's getting at. When you fight to take away the death penalty, you are making a statement that the prisoner's life has some value. I would argue that after conviction, it really doesn't. I hate how dismissive that sounds, but, realistically, people in a supermax complex locked in a room 18 hours a day and denied visitation - well, they have a very marginal effect on the world outside of the prison. The victims murdered by such people, on average, have a more positive impact on society. But the false dichotomy is that one is already dead. There are other things people might value, though, which are more difficult to discuss: closure for the victim's families in some cases, the cost of three hots and a cot, the stress placed on prison guards who get spit on, assaulted regularly by inmates, etc...
     
  2. domsch1988

    domsch1988 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    535
    Likes Received:
    7
    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2014
    Location:
    Cologne
    Without having read every comment to the word, i feel like sharing my humble opinion on death penalty.

    I come from a country where death penalty is not allowed as has not been for many years. My parents raised me in the believe, that every single person can change. Nothing you do know is indicative of what you do or are in 10 years.

    With that out of the way, i feel strongly that the death penalty is not a solution. My believe is, that the death penalty is an excuse for the government not to deal with people who made poor decisions. I don't see a prison as a penalty for doing something wrong, but as an opportunity to get back on the right path. I agree that our prisons are lacking in that department. But none the less this is what they should do. Show people another way.

    There are a few, and they are few, who do bad things because they have to, or want to. Those who can not be brought back to a life that's compliant with basic humanistic principals can stay in prison for the rest of their life. For them that's a much harder penalty then being killed.

    Killing someone is a final act. There is no way back. After that decision is made, it's over. Since these decisions are made by humans, and humans are imperfect by design, this system is inherently flawed. Additionally, the judge making the final decision might have to live his whole life knowing he killed someone who was not guilty.
    And finally, the fact that truly evil people kill others should never mean we should too. We should be the ones making better decision than them.

    I accept that some of you might have a different view than me. Thats ok. I just feel out of all the imperfect options we have, we should choose the one where the least people die.
     
  3. Rawkmann

    Rawkmann SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    699
    Likes Received:
    253
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2013
    Location:
    Texas
    I know plenty of people say if faced with life in prison or a death sentence they'd willingly choose death, but I think, until You are literally in that situation it's impossible to say for sure. Life is prison is still some kind of life, and look, I've never been to prison and I don't really know what it'd be like for the long haul, but I can't see myself willingly choosing to die. Depending on my ability to adapt or the conditions of the prison, maybe my stance would change, but as it stands I'd choose to live.

    My qualm is the entire process.

    Quite simply, the negatives outweigh the positives of keeping the death penalty if You want to look at in those terms, but frankly I don't really like arguing pragmatically about something like this. I hate to fall back on the 'It's just wrong' argument, but for me that's what it boils down to. Realistically I think we still have the death penalty because the public likes it and it makes them feel good when we 'kill the bad guy'.
     
  4. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

    Messages:
    13,347
    Likes Received:
    1,411
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    St. Johnsbury, VT USA
    That's an interesting way to look at it. There are no bad people, just bad decisions. Maybe that's true in a society that firmly believe in that philosophy, but as someone who grew up in Detroit, during a time when there was a murder on the block every month or two, I just don't see how that philosophy ties to my observations of the world around me.

    To me, some folks simply do not process the consequences of their actions before doing drastic things. Some might call that evil, others might call it desperation, ... I call it perpetual crisis. The deeper someone goes into it, whatever you call it, the more difficult it is to course correct. People who have murdered have been desensitized to the act to the point at which they didn't stop themselves from doing it.

    It's a different perspective on humanity and society, I know. I think if I had grown up someplace quieter, like where I live now, I would likely have a vastly different outlook.

    Well, that's why I posted data earlier relating specifically to people interviewed on death row. :shrug:

    No matter what, everybody's going to die. Not many people really want to. But, the fact of the matter is that folks sentenced to life without parole are going to die in prison, just like people sentenced to death are going to die in prison. Neither is really that likely to go peacefully, so really, the only difference is that one gets a timeline.
     
  5. PunkBillCarson

    PunkBillCarson SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    582
    Likes Received:
    115
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2013
    Location:
    Paragould, AR
    Exactly! That's the question I'm asking.
     
  6. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    3,928
    Likes Received:
    503
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2009
    Location:
    Never Neverland
    I initially asked for clarification simply to better understand your position. At this point, based on the conversation since my question, I have a better grasp on that.


    I don't want to see innocent people locked up for life nor do I want to see them executed. But if they are locked up, at least we have the chance to exonerate them at a later date and make some form of recompense for the years spent locked up, so it is the lesser of the two evils here.


    I'm not trying to put words in your mouth, merely to understand how you deal with the issue of innocent people being executed in your penal model (yes, I said penal model, not penile model :lol:).


    I don't disagree that the people using the drugs, especially the hard drugs, need medical and psychological help, nor that our current system of discouraging drug use doesn't work. But people selling these destructive substances should still be locked up IMO, and I'm not sure how to accomplish that without mere possession being a key incriminating offense.


    Death itself is the easy part, and something we all have to face at some point. But sitting around knowing you'll be executed, seeing the inmates around you disappearing, grasping at straws via the legal system and pardons/stays, and all else that goes along with it is psychological torture.


    While it's true that a person that is locked up is likely to have a very small impact on society outside the prison, the individual we're discussing here is the innocent individual who was wrongly convicted. And in that case, I have to believe that that individuals life has some inherent value even if it is merely "potential value" while s/he is in prison. Keep in mind, some of the folks in such situations are exonerated and able to once add value to society after their exoneration.


    While that is true, closure is internal and needs to be about dealing with the loss of a loved one, not revenge.

    The stress placed on a prison guard is something that comes along with he job and, as you well know, jobs are not assigned but rather chosen by the individual, so if the stress is too much for a given prison guard to handle, s/he is free to find other gainful employment.

    As for the economic cost society bears, it sucks, but is necessary, and can be reduced by penal reform, though I don't see that happening any time soon.
     
  7. russmuller

    russmuller Cramblin' Contributor

    Messages:
    1,682
    Likes Received:
    148
    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    I completely disagree with how you've maladapted my argument. By this standard, what benefit does soda/pop/carbonated sugar water have? In retrospect, all it does is hurt people. You can see why this comes apart quickly.

    There's a difference between regulating the availability of things that exist and having a policy of murdering people (some of whom are innocent) even though the rest of society is already safe from them. The argument doesn't apply to both.

    I have to agree with Rawkmann on this one. We should prevent the murders we can, and we can prevent the murder of the innocent on death row.
     
  8. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

    Messages:
    13,347
    Likes Received:
    1,411
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    St. Johnsbury, VT USA
    Funny how we can agree on 80-90% of things, and yet disagree so much on the conclusion.

    Kudos for putting together an excellent argument, BTW.

    In terms of death row as torture, I think I know what you are getting at, but, just to be clear "torture" is defined by intent to either extract information from someone or to derive pleasure from inflicting pain on someone. In this case, there is no literal torture. Again, I point to the sources I posted earlier suggesting that death is more humane than life without parole.

    I think that the potential value argument applies the same to the innocent as to the guilty, so long as the person is convicted the same.

    The economic burden is something subject to a large amount of flux as administrations change and as the economic situation of the nation changes. As for keeping an individual around who has no value to society, I am fine with that. Making that individual comfortable for the rest of his or her life is not very high on my list of things I consider priority.
     
  9. domsch1988

    domsch1988 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    535
    Likes Received:
    7
    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2014
    Location:
    Cologne
    The question it comes down to is, does someone how did do bad things forfeit his human rights?
    I strongly believe that every human on this planet has rights that can't be taken no matter what he does. The right to life is one of those. And after all, if death would be more humane than letting them life a life in prison, wouldn't this be the strongest argument against the death penalty? :scratch:
     
  10. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

    Messages:
    13,347
    Likes Received:
    1,411
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    St. Johnsbury, VT USA
    What about the rights taken from the victims?

    Here in the USA, convicted felons do not have any protected rights while in prison, and very restricted rights even after their time is fully served.

    Say that every person has a right to freedom of movement. This is pretty widely assessed as a basic human right. Do convicted violent criminals where you live still have this basic right? :scratch:

    If the answer is no, then some basic human rights are voided upon conviction of certain crimes.

    I believe the above statement is simply an axiom of basic social theory. Otherwise, if no one loses any rights by limiting the rights of others, then government collapses to anarchy without any power of enforcement.
     
  11. domsch1988

    domsch1988 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    535
    Likes Received:
    7
    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2014
    Location:
    Cologne
    That's a really tough discussion.
    In Germany, you still have some basic rights, even when in prison and found guilty. To a certain extend this includes the right to freedom of movement. Of course not in like "go where you want", but nearly every prisoner has the right to get out of his cell ones a day for a certain amount of time and has the right to get out in the open for that time.

    Generally it is the case, that these rights only end, where other peoples basic rights are touched. So, if you kill someone the government has the right to take your right for freedom of movement from you.

    Basically we differentiate three types of personal rights
    - Rights that you inherit by beeing a human that can't be taken from you no matter what you do (the right to live)
    - Rights that can only be taken from you when you trim other peoples rights
    - All the other stuff like taxes and traffic and all the other laws
     
  12. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

    Messages:
    13,347
    Likes Received:
    1,411
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    St. Johnsbury, VT USA
    So, which rights are in the first category, other than the right to not have the government/system take your life?

    I could see why this would be a very sensitive issue in Germany. Not only do you have people who still remember the Nazis, but the death warrants in East Germany. But, on the other hand, there are cannibals like Armin Meiwes who murdered and ate another dude, was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison, but then public outrage was so much that he was retried and sentenced to life in prison, and a big part of his new sentence was that he was psychologically evaluated to be at a high risk to do it again and again.

    If Herr Meiwes had lived in Arkansas, USA, then he would have been likely sentenced to lethal injection.
     
  13. domsch1988

    domsch1988 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    535
    Likes Received:
    7
    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2014
    Location:
    Cologne
    I don't really want to get into legal specifics as i'm neither a lawyer nor do i consider myself really well versed in german laws on that subject.

    Also "sentenced to life" in Germany isn't truly "for life". It's like 24 years maximum or such.
    And yes, the Nazi Era and the following East German government play a big role in how we as a nation look upon certain things.

    Look, i won't argue, that there are, have been and always will be people that are evil and that won't change. I could argue that there are people that by their very nature might deserve to die for what they did. But having laws that allow such practice is not a good thing. I'd rather let 10 people that deserve death live, than kill one single innocent person. Having a law that allows the death penalty makes it really easy to use as an excuse for not having a better plan.

    I know very well, that this is a topic where some people can not come to the same conclusion. It's not a topic where a middle ground solution is acceptable for either side.
     
  14. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    3,928
    Likes Received:
    503
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2009
    Location:
    Never Neverland
    It's those differences that make for interesting discussion.

    For what it's worth, I think if I were wrongly convicted, or hell, even if I were actually guilty, I would prefer death to life in prison - that's a LONG time to be locked up. But I'm not in that situation, so I'm merely speculating at this point.

    Regardless, the penal system needs reform, and I think we're better off focusing on preventing crime up front rather than punishing people after the fact (an area where we have a piss poor track record to date).
     
  15. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    4,985
    Likes Received:
    1,527
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Cambridge, UK
    I feel like if I'm wrongly convicted I wouldn't be able to give up hope of exonerating evidence eventually coming to light (in most cases).

    Though the system is such a mess that I'd be given a much better chance of finding/using that evidence with resources given to death row inmates than to just general population life without parole. That creates the weird situation where I'd like to abolish the death penalty but if I were an innocent man being sentenced I'd prefer death row (and ultimately death) over life in prison. Better living conditions, better lawyers, a guarantee of more eyes going over the case details, etc.
     
  16. flint757

    flint757 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    6,400
    Likes Received:
    197
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2011
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I think one aspect that I didn't see anyone bring up is that our legal system is classist/racist. Minorities often get heavier sentences and those that can't afford to bribe the governor or pay a top tier lawyer often face harsher sentencing. Most poor people plead out and take a deal, and I imagine the death penalty has been the metaphorical stick in many trials to get people to do just that, even if a good lawyer could get them off. Something like 99% of people on death row are dirt poor.

    If a rich guy can avoid the death penalty it shouldn't exist (implying guilty people walk with a good lawyer or a good lawyer can properly exonerate their client). We certainly aren't any safer because of the practice.
     
  17. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

    Messages:
    13,347
    Likes Received:
    1,411
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    St. Johnsbury, VT USA
    Well, you make a very good point.

    I think it can work as a bit of a double-edged sword in most instances, though.

    As I mentioned, death penalty cases get a lot more involvement from lawyers, and there are groups raising money for better lawyers for death row inmates, whereas there are not for life sentences.

    So, if you're poor, you're more likely to get the death sentence, but, with the death sentence, you're more likely to get a good lawyer to get you exonerated than you would with a life sentence.

    If you're rich, you're more likely to get that good lawyer in the first place, and therefore, you're more likely to be acquitted altogether.

    To me, the most glaring unfairness in all of that isn't the death penalty, it's the gap in quality of legal representation. You could be the rich former football player who has a mound of physical evidence against him hiring seven of the most experienced lawyers to work full time on your case, or, you could be the 50-something year old disabled veteran who can only afford one lawyer, who happens to also be working on a dozen other cases simultaneously.

    Maybe abolishing the death penalty is better, overall, for the nation. I don't know. At this point in my life, I don't see it.
     
    LosingSleep likes this.
  18. LosingSleep

    LosingSleep SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    8
    Joined:
    May 2, 2017
    Location:
    Kings Landing
    Props to bosjan for making some fantastic points.

    I stopped supporting the death penalty because I found giving government the power to kill its citizens particularly terrifying. No one minds the death penalty when it's Timothy McVeigh or Ted Bundy on trial, but when treason is still a crime punishable by death, I say no. Whistleblowing is framed as treason nowadays, even when it's justified. Edward Snowden could have been technically been sentenced to death if he was tried. (Which they said they wouldn't if he returned to the U.S.)

    Is telling American citizens about their government violating their constitutionally protected rights a crime that someone should be murdered for?

    This may or may not be true, but apparently it's on the books that high level drug traffickers convicted are eligible for the death penalty. Again, haven't fact checked that yet.
     
    bostjan likes this.
  19. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

    Messages:
    13,347
    Likes Received:
    1,411
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    St. Johnsbury, VT USA
    No one has been executed in the USA for treason for a number of decades, but that's a quite good point.

    But then again, if Snowden made it back to US soil, and he was not slated to be executed (or, in practice, even if he was), he would likely spend the rest of his life behind bars. I fail to see the justice in that either. So, in my eyes, it's just a way of distracting from the real problem: the justice system in the USA.

    Also, the government definitely has the machinery in place to murder its own people, if it desires to do so. I'd rather face a jury of my own peers to decide my fate than to have my fate decided by a dirty cop in a back alley or in the back of a police van.

    I guess I'm fairly conflicted about my own feelings on the death penalty. There is some inconsistency with either position held under the circumstances currently at play in the US justice system. In a perfect world, it wouldn't matter, but in this imperfect world, it matters a lot, yet there is essentially no evidence-based argument that places one position ahead of another.

    Honing in particulary on McVeigh, what makes his execution more just than any of these Arkansas inmates who were up for execution?
     
  20. LosingSleep

    LosingSleep SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    8
    Joined:
    May 2, 2017
    Location:
    Kings Landing
    He killed 168 people
     

Share This Page